Is Barley Good for Diabetics?

Barley, one of many nutritious historical grains, has many well being advantages. It is obtainable in varied kinds, akin to pearled barley, barley flour, flakes, grits, and extra. Barley is the fourth largest grain crop produced globally and is a hearty crop wealthy in fibre and low in glycemic index making it appropriate for diabetics. 

In its hulled or whole-grain kind, barley helps handle blood sugar ranges. It additionally helps weight administration amongst obese or overweight diabetic or prediabetic folks. Regardless of barley’s versatility and well being advantages, folks with diabetes should monitor their consumption degree. 

Barley Glycemic Index and Nutritional Profile

According to the USDA, 100 grams of hulled barley incorporates the next vitamins.

  • Calories: 354 energy
  • Protein: 12.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 73.5 g
  • Fibre: 17.3 g
  • Fat: 2.3 g
  • Magnesium: 133 mg
  • Calcium: 33 mg
  • Phosphorus: 264 mg
  • Potassium: 452 mg
  • Zinc: 2.77 mg

The glycemic index, or the GI, reveals how a selected meals is prone to have an effect on one’s blood glucose ranges. The lesser the GI rating the lesser impact will it have on blood sugar ranges. A meals with GI 85 will trigger the blood glucose to spike whereas that of 40 can have little impact. People with diabetes must eat extra low-glycemic index meals with scores beneath 55. Medium-range GI meals have scores of vary 55-69.

  • Hulled barley has a GI rating of 20 to 25. It won’t change even after cooking. 
  • Pearled barley has a GI score of twenty-two to 29. After boiling pearled barley for an hour, the GI rating goes as much as 35 because it loses some fibre. 
  • Rolled barley flakes, much like rolled oats, have a GI rating as excessive as 66.
  • Cracked barley has a mean GI rating of fifty.
  • The GI of barley flour equals 30, making it a low GI flour. 

Why is Barley Good for Diabetics?

Barley has a powerful nutrient profile. Unprocessed barley is wealthy in protecting bran, endosperm and nutrient-filled germ. A examine reveals that consuming bread created from unprocessed barley kernels helps lower blood sugar and insulin ranges. It additionally results in further advantages like elevated insulin sensitivity and improved urge for food management.

Here are different the reason why barley is sweet for diabetes:

Rich in Fibre

Barley is especially wealthy in a soluble fibre referred to as beta-glucan. A examine reveals that barley, even pearled and rolled varieties, supplies 19 instances extra dietary fibre than polished rice. This perk of barley makes it a satisfying meal for diabetic sufferers. Another examine additionally says that the excessive beta-glucan in barley may regulate postprandial hyperglycemia in sufferers with sort 2 diabetes. 

Low Glycemic Index

Barley is obtainable in numerous kinds, starting from low to reasonable GI scores. Unprocessed barley kernels, ready or uncooked, will all the time stay within the low GI vary. Even the processed variety, referred to as pearled barley, stays within the reasonable vary. It will not be as excessive as different refined grains. 

Rich in Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency is a lesser-known causative issue of sort 2 diabetes. It typically results in poorly managed glycemic profiles. Besides fibre, barley is a wealthy supply of magnesium. It supplies almost 133 mg of magnesium per 100 g serving. Hence, barley is ideal for sort 2 diabetes folks with magnesium deficiency. 

The HealthifyMe Note

Scoring low on the glycemic index and having a excessive beta-glucan degree make barley good for diabetes. Further, magnesium in barley helps management sugar ranges, particularly in sort 2 diabetes. Barley additionally has a very good quantity of protein and different vitamins like zinc, calcium, and potassium. 

How to Use Barley for Diabetes?

Barley Flour

Barley flour of dried and floor barley is a wholesome substitute for refined white flour. Ensure to decide on coarse barley flour, which incorporates bran of the grain. Barley flour has a greater impact on blood sugar ranges than refined flour. Therefore, you should utilize it for baking functions of all types. 

To get comfy with the flavour, you can begin by changing solely a portion of your common flour with barley flour. But, even then, there will likely be enhancements in post-meal glucose ranges. 

Barley Water

Ayurveda mentions using barley water as a treatment for a number of illnesses, together with diabetes. Barley water is a wholesome and cooling beverage made with simply two foremost elements; barley and water. 

Besides being a conventional summer season drink, barley water hydrates, nourishes and detoxifies your physique. It is made by simmering barley grains or barley flour in water till cooked tender. The water absorbs all of the vitamins and goodness of barley grains whereas simmering. 

The intestine bacterium Prevotella Copri (P. Copri) may help cut back blood sugar ranges. Research reveals that this blood sugar-lowering intestinal micro organism grows extra quickly after consuming barley water because of the prebiotic nature of barley kernel-based merchandise.

Unstrained barley water’s antioxidant, magnesium, and fibre content material additionally assist regulate blood sugar ranges. However, you will need to put together and drink barley in the precise approach to reap the advantages. 

How to Make Barley Water for Diabetes?

Commercially bottled barley water is available, particularly throughout sizzling and humid climate. While it’s handy, barley water offered in cans and bottles incorporates preservatives. In addition, these variations typically include synthetic sweeteners to boost the style. According to research, extended use of synthetic sweeteners triggers greater insulin resistance. Over time, insulin resistance causes extreme sugar or glucose within the blood.

Besides preservatives and added sugars, pre-made barley water is significantly costlier. So why purchase bottled barley water offered in retailers when you can also make it dwelling so simply? Best of all, you possibly can management the elements in home made barley water. It ensures that your drink is free from components that may increase your blood sugar ranges. 

You could make barley water utilizing three cooking strategies; a strain cooker, range prime, or instantaneous pot. But first, it is best to prep or soak the barley grains.

Prep Barley

You can select hulled, pot, pearly barley or barley flour. Sort and rinse the barley in the identical method we do it for rice earlier than cooking. Remove all stones and particles and rinse a few instances. Soak the grains for 4 to five hours or in a single day. 

Soaking cuts down the cooking time for grains. It additionally reduces barley’s phytic acid, stopping the incidence of flatulence post-consumption. 

Making Barley Water (Stove Pot Method)

The strain cooker technique is without doubt one of the quickest and best methods to make barley water whereas the range pot is the standard one. 

Serves: 1

Preparation time: 20-25 minutes


  • Barley: 50 grams or 1/4 cup (rinsed, soaked)
  • Water: 2-3 cups

Method of Preparation

  • Add water to a saucepan. Then add within the soaked barley. 
  • Cover it partially and let it boil for 20-25 minutes. Stir in between.
  • Barley grains improve in quantity, so chances are you’ll want so as to add extra water whereas cooking.
  • Stop cooking as soon as the barley grains flip tender and barely sticky.
  • Strain and press nicely to extract barley water. Add salt to style. 
  • You could add ginger or lemon juice for flavour. 

The HealthifyMe Note

Homemade barley water is a diabetes-friendly beverage freed from preservatives and components. It is more healthy than pre-packaged barley water. Beyond that, it lets you management the quantity of sugar and create a drink that fits your blood sugar patterns. You can also add lemon juice, ginger juice, rock salt, or floor cardamom to barley water. It offers an electrolyte enhance. 

Potential Side Effects of Barley 

Some folks can have totally different responses to barley. Your blood glucose response to every meals is extremely personalised. Therefore, the acceptable portion dimension may also range. Talk to a HealthifyMe nutritionist to seek out the proper portion dimension that doesn’t spike blood glucose ranges. You may also subscribe to HealthifyPRO to entry Continuous Glucose Monitoring with real-time insights.

Here are some unwanted side effects of barley to look out for:

  • Barley will not be gluten-free. Therefore, it will possibly trigger allergic reactions in folks with gluten sensitivity or Celiac illness.
  • Excessive consumption of barley can result in constipation and bloating. 
  • It could cause blood sugar to drop to a dangerously low degree if you devour barley with diabetes drugs. 


Among entire grains, hulled barley is without doubt one of the greatest sources of beta-glucan. It can also be low on the glycemic index scale. These two elements make barley good for diabetes. However, it might assist to eat barley moderately to avail the most effective blood sugar-controlling advantages. Talk to your physician earlier than altering something in your weight loss program.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Does barley spike blood sugar?

A. Barley has a low glycemic index and doesn’t spike blood sugar ranges. With a excessive degree of fibre and magnesium, barley is right for folks with diabetes. Fibre and magnesium work collectively to enhance blood sugar management. However, it might assist in case you consumed barley in reasonable quantities solely. 

Q. How can diabetics take barley?

A. People with diabetes could make barley water for a low-calorie, electrolyte-rich, refreshing drink. Barley flour can also be a very good substitute for refined flour. Furthermore, low GI barley flakes are excellent as a breakfast porridge, soups, and stews for folks with diabetes. Or you possibly can put together a grain salad with cooked barley.

Q. Is barley good for diabetes sufferers?

A. Yes, barley and its merchandise are good for diabetes sufferers. Barley is wealthy in fibre and magnesium whereas low in energy and glycemic index. However, consuming an extra of barley is unhealthy. It may trigger gasoline, bloating, or different gastric misery. 

Q. Can barley reverse diabetes?

A. No single meals or drink can reverse diabetes or different metabolic situations. However, common consumption of barley water or utilizing barley as an alternative of refined grains can hold your diabetes beneath management. 

Q. Can barley have an effect on the kidney?

A. Apart from managing blood sugar, barley water is equally efficient in treating kidney stones. The calcium and magnesium in barley water assist dissolve any stone materials clogging your kidney system. Overall, it has soothing and nourishing results on the kidneys. However, barley water is a diuretic that will increase urination and flushes out toxins. Therefore, overconsumption can put a pressure on the kidneys. 

Q. What is the facet impact of barley?

A. Consuming barley grains or barley water in really useful quantities reveals no extreme unwanted side effects. However, extreme consumption results in gastric misery, gasoline, or bloating. It can also be a gluten-containing grain. So, these with Celiac illness or gluten intolerance should keep away from barley. The diuretic nature of barley will also be an issue if you drink an excessive amount of barley water. 

Q. Is it OK to drink barley day-after-day?

A. You can drink barley water each day, however restrict it to a single serving. Adding home made barley water quite than pre-packed ones to your each day weight loss program is greatest. However, speak to your physician earlier than making an attempt one thing new or in order for you extra perception on appropriate serving sizes. 

The Supporting Sources

1. Data by the US Department of Agriculture. Data Type: SR Legacy | Food Category: Cereal Grains and Pasta | FDC ID: 170283| NDB Number: 20004

2. Lund University. “Barley helps improve blood sugar levels, reduce appetite.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 February 2016.

3. Higa M, Fuse Y, Miyashita N, et al. Effect of High β-glucan Barley on Postprandial Blood Glucose Levels in Subjects with Normal Glucose Tolerance: Assessment by Meal Tolerance Test and Continuous Glucose Monitoring System. Clin Nutr Res. 2019;8(1):55-63. Published 2019 Jan 28.

4. Fuse, Y., Higa, M., Miyashita, N., Fujitani, A., Yamashita, Okay., Ichijo, T., Aoe, S., & Hirose, T. (2020). Effect of High β-glucan Barley on Postprandial Blood Glucose and Insulin Levels in Type 2 Diabetic Patients. Clinical diet analysis, 9(1), 43–51.

5. Sandberg, J., Kovatcheva-Datchary, P., Björck, I., Bäckhed, F., & Nilsson, A. (2019). The abundance of intestine Prevotella at baseline and metabolic response to barley prebiotics. European journal of diet, 58(6), 2365–2376.

6. Mathur, Okay., Agrawal, R. Okay., Nagpure, S., & Deshpande, D. (2020). Effect of synthetic sweeteners on insulin resistance amongst type-2 diabetes mellitus sufferers. Journal of household drugs and first care, 9(1), 69–71.

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